Bon Dia from Barcelona (And My Initial Thoughts on AA International Business Class Service)

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As many of you know, I am in Spain for the next couple days basking in the sun and taking in my fair share of jamon serrano and vino. I flew American last night on their 757 in their new business class seat and after my hugely disappointing first class flight on their 777 in January, I have to say my, expectations were low.

So were they met? Basically. It was an overall enjoyable flight: it left on time and arrived early, the food was decent (better than First class fare), in-flight entertainment was awesome (more on that later), standard headphones were Bose QC15,  and the seat was comfortable enough.

The bad? Service was lackluster at best. I honestly don’t think our flight attendants smiled once. It took about 10 minutes for someone to acknowledge us after we boarded and I was awoken abruptly from my Lunesta-enhanced bliss, by someone snatching my Bose QC15 headphones that were plugged into my iPhone. In their defense, they are the same ones they give out to business class, but they should have been more tactful about it. There were still 40 minutes left in the flight, so I don’t know why they are always in such a panic to get them collected (this same phenomenon occurred last time as well).

What was even more disapointing was the Admirals Club lounge. I’ve been meaning to whine more about these clubs – when I was taking a business class redeye back from San Francisco a couple weeks ago, they didn’t even give me free wifi. Apparently you have to be a paying member, which is really stingy to me. Someone paying thousands (granted I used miles, but that’s besides the point ;-)) to fly business or first class has to pay to use wifi in the lounge? Also, they were hawking potato chips at $2 a bag. Seriously?

Well, the JFK Admirals Club wasn’t much better. Granted, it’s a beautiful club (I went to the one near gate 45), but they were equally as stingy yet again. At least this time when I begged for a free wifi code, the agent acquiesced, though I think that had more to do with the fact that I was flying international business class. To my surprise/delight/horror, she also gave me a single drink coupon. While I appreciated the gesture, it brought to my attention that drinks weren’t free.

Seriously? Maybe I’m spoiled by Delta, the alcoholics airline of choice, but I think a cash bar at an international premium class lounge is just tacky.

Anyway, I better stop my sleep-deprived, jet-lagged induced rant before I convince you all that I’m a high-maintenance traveler. It’s my first time in Barcelona and it’s gorgeous so I need to get off the computer and go explore the city. I’m staying at Le Meridien on La Rambla and they let me check-in 4 hours early and upgraded me to a Junior Suite, which is really nice (pics to come when I have time). The hotel GM is sponsoring a free paella tasting event for Starwood Preferred Guest elite members, so I am going to try to stop by that. Overall, this star treatment solidifies why I choose to build elite status – it really makes travel so much more enjoyable.

If you have any tips/recommendations for Barcelona, feel free to comment below or email me. We are only here for one night before going to Madrid for the weekend and I don’t yet have dinner plans. So save me a trip to the concierge and recommend away!

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